New research from Michigan State University shows that feeding a blend of palmitic and oleic acids during the first 24 days in milk can increase milk yield during the next 6 weeks without negatively affecting dry matter intake or body weight.
Researchers enrolled 56 multiparous cows in the study. Cows were fed either a control diet with no supplemental fat, or a diet supplemented with a blend of calcium salts (60% palmitic and 30% oleic acids). Cows received supplemental fat either during the first 24 days in milk, or from 25 to 67 days in milk. The supplemental fat was fed at 1.9% of diet dry matter and replaced soyhulls in the control diet.
During the first 24 days in milk cows fed supplemental fat had increased milk fat content, 4.95% compared to 4.62% for control cows. Milk fat yield increased 4.32 vs 3.97 lbs/day; and energy corrected milk increased by 6.2 lbs/day for supplemented compared to control cows. There was no effect on DMI, milk yield or body weight change.
During the peak milk period, 25 to 67 days in milk, cows fed supplemental fat produced 5.5 lbs more milk per day than control cows. In addition, increases were seen in milk fat, 3.63% vs 3.52%; milk fat yield, 4.5 lbs/day vs 4.0 lbs/day; and energy corrected milk increased by 8.2 lbs/day in supplemented compared to control cows. There was no effect on DMI or body weight change.
Results also showed that cows fed supplemental fat during the first 24 days in milk produced more milk during the peak milk period even though they were no longer receiving supplemental fat. The carryover effect of fat supplementation fed during the first 24 days in milk increased milk yield by 6 lbs/day and energy corrected milk by 6.4 lbs/day during the next 6 weeks of lactation.